4 Things (Not) To Do if You Are Arrested

Most people never expect to get arrested. But it could happen to anyone, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. All it takes is for the police to have “probable cause” that you’ve committed a crime.

But whether you’re guilty or not, it’s natural to feel anxious or scared during a police encounter. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what to do (and what not to do) if the situation ever arises. Otherwise, you might let fear get the best of you and do or say something you’ll regret.

What is an arrest?

An arrest is when a police officer takes you into custody. In other words, they apprehend you to take you to jail. This could happen out in public, after getting pulled over in your car, or even at the door of your home.

However, police can only arrest you in one of the following situations:

  • They see you commit a crime.
  • They have reasonable reason to believe you committed a felony (aka probable cause).
  • They have a warrant from a judge for your arrest.

If none of the above are true, then the arrest is illegal. But that won’t stop some bad cops from arresting you anyway. In the US, an arrest is made every three seconds. And these are mostly for non-violent offenses.

So you should always be prepared for the worst and follow these rules:

  1. Don’t resist the arrest

If you are being arrested, one of the worst ways you can react is to resist the arrest. Doing so will only make the situation worse and may even lead to additional charges.

Instead, comply with the police officer’s orders, including any commands to raise your hands, to put them behind your back, or to allow them to be handcuffed.

Don’t swat the officer’s hands away or touch the officer at all for that matter. Otherwise, you could get charged with resisting arrest, battery of an officer, or worse.

And whatever you do, don’t run. You’ll get charged for evading the police and it will make you look more guilty. At the end of the day, you stand a better chance of winning your case in court, not in the street.

  1. Invoke your right to remain silent

If you’ve seen any police TV shows, you know that one of the first things a police officer tells someone they’ve arrested is that they have a right to remain silent. Usually, they read the person’s Miranda rights, which start like this:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

But whether the cop does this or not, you should invoke your right to remain silent immediately—even if you are innocent and have nothing to hide. Saying something simply isn’t worth the risk of it hurting your case in court later on.

This is especially important if the police officer tries to interrogate you (which they shouldn’t). That’s because police are trained in what’s called the “Reid Technique,” which involves lying to you in order to get you to confess. Don’t fall for it. You can give your name and some basic information like your address if you like, but don’t say anything else.

You also shouldn’t talk about your case to anyone in jail. This includes inmates, guards, and visitors. Assume that any calls are being recorded unless it’s a call to your attorney.

Remember, it’s not the job of police (or detectives or booking officers for that matter) to decide your innocence. That’s the job of the judge and the jury. So there’s no point in trying to convince anyone of your innocence until you’re in court. Till then, it’s best to be quiet.

  1. Don’t consent to a search

If the police officer tries to search your car or house, clearly state that you do not consent to a search. Police don’t have the right to search your property without a search warrant. Any attempt to do so is illegal.

By stating that you don’t consent to a search, you prevent the police from finding evidence that could hurt your case. Even if they move forward with an illegal search and find something, it can’t be used in court if you never consented to the search.

The only exception to your right not to be searched is if the cop wants to do a pat-down to make sure you aren’t carrying any weapons. Anything else will require a search warrant.

  1. Consult an attorney

Lastly, consult a good criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. When you’re arrested, the police officer will probably inform you of your right to an attorney in your Miranda rights:

“You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

But again, whether they do or not, you have a right to talk to your attorney or a public defender before you say anything. A criminal defense lawyer will help you navigate your case by letting you know what to expect and how the case is likely to go. But most of all, they’ll make sure your rights are protected so that you get the best possible verdict.

Final Thoughts

In summary, anytime you’re arrested, remember the following:

  1. Don’t resist the arrest
  2. Invoke your right to remain silent
  3. Don’t consent to a search
  4. And consult an attorney

If you follow these 4 steps, you greatly improve the outcome of your arrest. Remember, one small mistake could significantly hurt your case.

If at any point, you feel like your rights are being violated during the arrest, make a note. Write down the details of what happened, the officer’s badge and patrol car number, and the contact information of any witnesses.

If you don’t have access to pen and paper, try taking a voice memo or recording a video on your phone. You have a right to record the police if it doesn’t obstruct what they are doing and they are in a public space. But don’t hide the fact that you’re recording. Let them (and anyone nearby) know.

Hopefully, you never have to use any of this advice, but at least you now know what to do in case you ever find yourself getting arrested.


This is Rohan, I'm a Digital marketing Expert, Full time Content Writer and founder of BoxerTechnology.com I can help people across the world through my articles. I am sharing the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.